My father spent much of his childhood on his grandfather’s ranch outside Enid, Oklahoma. There’s not a lot to do in central Oklahoma, except go hunting for rabbits, pheasant and various other prairie creatures. So my Dad did that, along with his cousins.
Many years later, I started taking my Dad on a hunting trip over the Christmas Break, so we could build our own memories. We’ve hunted turkey in the Shenandoah Valley and Buckingham County, without much success. Our best luck has been hunting water fowl on the Eastern Shore.
This Friday morning, my Dad and brother-in-law joined a guide for a goose hunt near the Choptank River in Talbot County, MD. The weather was clear and unseasonably warm, not the best conditions for water fowl. The population was smaller than 2010. (With the unusually warm weather, we speculated that flocks of migrating Canadian geese have “short-stopped” further up the East Coast).
While the guide called to them, the flocks circled overheard, sizing up our decoys. A few came down to investigate. After four hours in the blind, we came home with two large birds — short of the bag limit but more than enough for Christmas dinner.
While I don’t spend much time on it, I believe that hunting is a valuable tradition. (When you’ve shot and breasted your own bird, you understand what a privilege it is to buy fresh poultry and meats at the grocery store). You have a chance to see in a small way how animals live and interact with their environment.
With a goose in your freezer, you know that the holidays are here.